Monday, 4 August 2008

An opportunity you could not miss

Here's something exciting I'd forgotten to mention. The following email was awaiting me when I got home last week:


Hope all is well,

After coming across your Birmingham based blog I was wondering if you would consider writing a piece for Blahblah Radio. Blahblah has just launched a new motoring classifieds site, an alternative to Auto Trader called

This is becoming hugely success within the West Midlands area as it really has a local feel.

We would really like your support with this new service.

I’ll look forward to your reply.

Kind Regards

Ben O’Brien

I have replaced the original company name with 'blahblah', you'll have noticed. There isn't actually a radio station in Birmingham called blahblah. Well, not yet, although given that there's a TV channel here called 'Dave', nothing surprises me any more.

At first glance this seemed a potentially big deal. The radio station in question is quite well known in the local area, even if their music policy is wholly predictable ("7.15am? Justin Timberlake will be on in a minute. Like every other frickin' day this week....") and they currently seem to employ presenters with the personality of monkfish.


It seemed a little odd that a local radio station would operate a classified car sale site. And that they'd want some copy written for it. But I thought perhaps they'd want to develop it into some sort of information portal with related consumer articles. Let's forget for one moment the fact that my public writing covers subjects like Mr Muscle being done over by The Man. And swimming squirrels. Who am I to argue? Perhaps Ben has seen something he likes in all this white noise? So I replied, asking for a little more information. And got this in return:

Many thanks for your quick response, It's nothing major all we would like you to do is mention our new motoring site in your blog as we see your Birmingham based.
I'm not mentioning the use of the third 'your' instead of 'you're'. Because I think I've just thrown up a little in my mouth as a result of the unmitigated cynicism on display. I've since found out that he's approached a number of other local bloggers with exactly the same email. Clearly Ben's not checked what we write on our blogs. I suspect he's failing - quite heroically - to understand what blogging is about. Or else he couldn't give a dingo's kidney. He might not be bothered what I say about his new venture, just as long as I mention the URL a whole heap of times. The more websites that show it, the better his pagerank on search engines, I suppose. Perhaps he's a smart cookie after all, this Ben chap.

Not that smart, though. A little bit of searching shows that the nice friendly local site he wants me to promote has 5,333 cars for sale within 20 miles of my postcode. That nasty, national Autotrader website, however, shows 25,434 in the same area. So, in other words, I'd have to find something to write a long the lines of "why don't you all visit this hugely boring website that's only of use to you if you want to buy or sell a car, is linked for some bizarre reason to a radio station, and is around one-fifth as good as Autotrader?"

There is one blog that's singing its praises, though. A Live Journal blog. Owned and written by a certain Mr B O'Brien.

Ladies and gentlemen - we have clearly been witness to a marketing masterclass.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Clumsy, clumsy viral marketers.


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